Bob Woodward said Wednesday that President Donald Trump has displayed a failure of leadership amid the coronavirus crisis.
“It’s absolutely tragic. It’s tragic for Donald Trump, for the country, for the 190,000-plus people who have died. If he’d been honest and shared the truth in some form, we would be in a completely different position now,” Woodward told “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Back in March, Trump told Woodward during an on-the-record interview that he chose to downplay the virus.
Woodward went on, “It is a monumental, catastrophic leadership failure.”
The veteran journalist’s second book about the Trump administration, “Rage,” dropped Tuesday.
In the book, Woodward revealed that Trump knew how “deadly” the coronavirus was early on in the crisis, but actively chose to downplay the threat. The president has said insisted he didn’t want to cause a panic among Americans and detractors have also criticized Woodward for sitting on that information about Trump’s personal response for months leading up to his book’s publication.
He defended himself Monday, saying he’d initially believed Trump was talking about China.
“If there was any suggestion I had that was about the United States, I would have of course published,” Woodward said earlier this week. “I think I have public health — public safety — responsibility, but there was no indication in February. In March, everyone knew what Trump had told me that it applied to the United States. The key here, Savannah, is that in May, three months later, I learned the key piece of evidence: That on January 28th, 10 days before that February call, the president was warned by his national security adviser in a top-secret meeting that the virus is going to be the greatest national security threat to your presidency.”
Watch his assessment of Trump’s leadership above, via MSNBC.